Monday, April 13
“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. Shall I not call God the Beautiful, who daily showeth himself so to me in his gifts? I chide society, I embrace solitude, and yet I am not so ungrateful as not to see the wise, the lovely and the noble-minded, as from time to time they pass my gate. Who hears me, who understands me, becomes mine, — a possession for all time. Nor is nature so poor but she gives me this joy several times, and thus we weave social threads of our own, a new web of relations; and, as many thoughts in succession substantiate themselves, we shall by and by stand in a new world of our own creation, and no longer strangers and pilgrims in a traditionary globe.” ~Emerson, “Friendship”
Although I find myself worrying on occasion during this time of uncertainty, it seems to happen most when I’m sitting in front of the television watching the news over and over. I’ve found that in order to be healthy and positive, I must limit my exposure to the news. The times when I feel the best and healthiest are those times when I’m helping someone. Even if it is as simple as making someone a sandwich.
Journal: What are some of the ways you’ve been staying positive and healthy? Tell me about some of the activities you have done in the past few weeks that make you feel worse.
Have you turned to your friends? What are you doing now to make yourself feel better? Are you helping your friends?
Song of the day: Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac (song suggestion made by H.D.)
Tuesday, April 14
“On February 24, seven and a half months after he abandoned that Datsun, McCandless returned to the Detrital Wash. The Park Service had long since impounded the vehicle, but he unearthed his old Virginia plates, SJF-421, and a few belongings he’d buried there. Then he hitched into Las Vegas and found a job in an Italian restaurant. ‘Alexander buried his backpack in the desert on 2/27 and entered Las Vegas with no money and no ID,’ the journal tells us.
He lived on the streets with bums, tramps, and winos for several weeks. Vegas would not be the end of his story, however. On May 10, itchy feet returned and Alex left his job in Vegas, retrieved his backpack, and hit the road again, though he found that if you are stupid enough to bury a camera underground you won’t be taking many pictures with it afterwards. Thus the story has no picture book for the period May 10, 1991 – January 7, 1992. But this is not important. It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which the real meaning is found. God it’s great to be alive! Thank you. Thank you.”
Into the Wild, Chapter 4
The phrase “cognitive dissonance” means a mental conflict that occurs when you hear new information. Our brains are wired in such a way that we typically feel discomfort with new information. We, as human beings, do not like to learn that we are wrong and our first reaction to change is often fear and anger.
Journal: Tell me the story of a time when you realized you were wrong about something. What was your reaction? Did you change your course of action or did you decide to stick with your original belief? Why?
Wednesday, April 15
“It is foolish to be afraid of making our ties too spiritual, as if so we could lose any genuine love. Whatever correction of our popular views we make from insight, nature will be sure to bear us out in, and though it seem to rob us of some joy, will repay us with a greater. Let us feel if we will the absolute insulation of man. We are sure that we have all in us. We go to Europe, or we pursue persons, or we read books, in the instinctive faith that these will call it out and reveal us to ourselves. Beggars all. The persons are such as we; the Europe, an old faded garment of dead persons; the books, their ghosts. Let us drop this idolatry. Let us give over this mendicancy. Let us even bid our dearest friends farewell, and defy them, saying, ‘Who are you? Unhand me; I will be dependent no more.’ Ah! Seest thou not, O brother, that thus we part only to meet again on a higher platform, and only be more each other’s because we are more our own? A friend is Janus-faced: he looks to the past and the future. He is the child of all my foregoing hours, the prophet of those to come, and the harbinger of a greater friend. It is the property of the divine to be reproductive.” ~Emerson, Friendship
Beauty is something to which we are naturally drawn as human beings. Sometimes we find beauty in a human face. Sometimes it is evident in nature. Beauty is made available to us in great art and literature. Personally, I seek out beauty in nature. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen was a sunrise at the top of a volcano in Hawaii. It was so beautiful that it actually made me cry. It is also said that beauty exists in the eye of the beholder, meaning different people find different things beautiful. Maybe a volcano is something ugly to you. But no doubt you have experienced beauty in some way.
Journal: Describe the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen. Paint a picture for me with your words. Did you find beauty in a person, a place, a piece of art? What was it about that thing that made it so beautiful to you?